CD Review: Van Eps’ Self-titled Full-Length Debut – You’ll need 3 of them

Van EpsVan Eps – ‘Van Eps’ is the first full-length release from these mainstays of the greater Seattle music scene.

For this self-titled album they teamed up with Scott Olson(Scott Olson Productions) and engineer Jason Shavey(Synergy Productions) and got to work on making what will surely be a popular album and further establish the band amongst the bigger names that are making the ground shake under the feet of northwest music fans.

Having released 3 singles prior to this album, Van Eps has been rocking crowds in Wash., Oregon and Montana since 2006 with their rock/alt./heavy rock sound and opening for artists such as Vince Neil, Geoff Tate and Hurt. The experience they’ve gained along the way is put to good use on the new album and they are tight.

Although the members of the band went to the same high school, it wasn’t until college that they first played together. It was a comfortable fit, so while they continued playing covers, they began to write together and with each members alcove of styles, they have produced a fascinating concoction of true musical art with a modern, alternative sound all their own.

The songs on this album are very energetic and some sound very personal. Matt Strutynski’s strong, slightly gravelly voice has the ability to give these songs the additional power that they deserve. Strutynski displays his beautiful voice, loud and rough on most songs, yet it’s genuinely sweet and loving on bluesy ballad “Ballad of John & Mary” and the beautiful, yet slightly haunting, duet “Nineteen” with Rachel Lerwill.

Lead-guitarist Brad Steenrod is a powerhouse player, playing tight riffs reminiscent to those that were the highlight of rock in the 80’s. These riffs will grab the attention of those that who listened to AC/DC, Van Halen, and Scorpions as teens. He has a very precise style, most notably in songs “Save Yourself”, “Keep on Breathing” and “Catch My Vibe”, all of which have some very cool solos.

They change things up a bit and further demonstrate the diversity of the band with “Dirty South”, which has become a fan favorite, this is a country/rock song with the talent of guest Tyler Paxton on harmonica and if you’re looking for a chance to scream “Go Ahead” and “Vegas Rain” are the ones for you. Jake Jovanovich on drums and Bobby Steenrod on bass give the album a sturdy foundation and are the perfect rhythm section for this music.

You’ll want to get three of these CDs, one for the car, one for the house and one for the friend that hears it and wants to ‘borrow’ yours.

Van Eps is:
Matt Strutynski – Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Brad Steenrod – Lead Guitar
Jake Jovanovich – Drums / Vocals
Bobby Steenrod – Bass
1. Keep on Breathing
2. Save Yourself
3. Go Ahead
4. Catch My Vibe
5. The Balled Of John & Mary
6. Dirty South
7. Vegas Rain
8. Move Out of the State
9. Nineteen

Get the album HERE

Tracy Salsbery

Tracy's love of music began as a child growing up in California’s Bay Area. The 1970s was an explosion of different music styles with everything from Led Zeppelin to Joni Mitchell to Al Green and her parents listened to all of it, leaving her with an eclectic taste in music. Her passion for great music comes from the happiness that it brings to people who listen and the talented musicians that play it. You can find her on LinkedIn here: www.linkedin.com/pub/tracy-salsbery/11/663/101